Changing Our Minds
I first read Don Lattin’s book, The Harvard Psychedelic Club, over ten years ago. This book gave me a perspective of the history on psychedelics which was something that a lot of writers, especially journalists, didn’t pay a lot of attention to. Today things have changed thanks to Don Lattin’s work, as a number of authors and books share Don’s passion for expressing the historical changes that lead to where we are today with the illegality of psychedelics and the overall war on drugs. As the dialog on psychedelics has changed, Don’s writing style also changed and so has the discussion of psychedelics.
Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy is a book for those who want to understand the current and possible future situation of psychedelics. It is a mixture of journalistic history along with interviews and discussions with the real players in the psychedelic scientific research community, as well as individuals that psychedelics have helped.
Changing Our Minds isn’t all about journalism as The Harvard Psychedelic Club was, it also contains a dash of personal journey and growth as Don Lattin discusses his experiences with psychedelics and how they helped him in his quest to overcome addiction and depression. Don has something unique to share in his personal story as he has been part of the psychedelic community for many years. As a reader, we hear about Don’s struggles and how psychedelics have personally helped him. This approach makes this book relatable.
A True to Life Look at Psychedelics
Changing Our Minds dialog on psychedelic therapy is a true to life view into many peoples personal struggles and how psychedelics have changed them. The book starts off exploring MDMA and its use in helping people who struggle with PTSD, specifically military veterans. Don also expands the discussion past MDMA and addresses other psychedelic plants and medicines such as psilocybin used to help individuals diagnosed with deadly diseases overcome their fears of dying and death, ayahuasca use with depression and addiction, and even the lesser discussed psychedelic substance, Ibogaine, which is used to treat heroin and opiate addiction in Mexico.
Don Lattin is an award-winning journalist and the author of six published books, including the national bestseller The Harvard Psychedelic Club and Changing Our Minds — Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy. Lattin’s work has appeared in many U.S. magazines and newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, where he worked for two decades as a staff writer covering religion, spirituality, and psychology.
Changing Our Minds is not all about tripping on drugs, it’s also a scientific and spiritual account of what is happening to us when we use psychedelics. Don interviews and discusses psychedelics with a vast amount of individuals who are experts in leading areas of psychedelic research and presents us their views and data on what is happening in the brain when we injust psilocybin or ayahuasca. He also reaches out to those who have been involved in the psychedelic community and have had profound spiritual experiences which changed their perspective of reality. These experiences make real lasting changes according to those individuals.
In today’s popular media we often hear about the wonders and successes of the use of psychedelics in therapy and research trails. Maybe the promotion of these substances is because we as a species drastically need a change to continue to live happy and fruitful lives. Regardless, Changing our Minds doesn’t provide us with an overinflated view of the reality when it comes to psychedelic therapy. Don explores how individuals have been affected over time by psychedelics, both good and bad, and how lasting change takes place with their use. Some of these changes are short-lived, some last longer, but everyone was changed in one way or another.
The Good the Bad and the Ugly
In Changing Our Minds, Don doesn’t just give us the positive view on psychedelics as he rides the thin line in telling a story about the good the bad and the ugly of the psychedelic medicine debate. He expands past just the drugs and explores the culture that initially caused the illegality of psychedelics in the 70’s. He also discusses the current dialog that is taking place in patenting and monetizing psychedelics which could soon be a reality.
Changing Our Minds has provided me with a perfect mixture of Don’s personal and journalistic view into how psychedelics can not only change our minds but also change how the human race perceives reality. What we do with psychedelics and the knowledge they provide is hard to predict, but Don paints a positive and hopeful picture of what the world could be.
I feel that Changing Our Minds has offered me an alternative view of psychedelic legalization. It has provided me with some opinions as to what I would personally like to see the future be like when it comes to psychedelics and what changes we can make now to make sure those realities can come true. Overall the book provided a well thought-out and researched view of how psychedelics are not only changing our mind as individuals but how they will also change our culture and world.
Listen to our interview with Don Lattin on our podcast Cosmic Echo.
Lee is the creator of taileater.com as well as author of a number of published articles that deal with sleep, sleep paralysis, and lucid dreaming. Lee has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is currently studying at John F. Kennedy University for his Masters in Consciousness and Transformative Studies.
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